Passing Glasses

Accomplishing Deontic Stance at the Optician

  • Brian Lystgaard Due
  • Johan Trærup
Keywords: EMCA, multimodality, passing, embodiment, economic interaction, professional practice, video ethnography, opticians, glasses, expertise,


Passing an object is an everyday action with which most people are familiar. It involves detailed organizations of the body within a spatial and material setting. One place where objects are continuously passed is at the optician. Based on more than 700 hours of video recordings at 11 Danish opticians, this article shows how passing glasses is accomplished in an institutional context where the optician is interactionally constructed as responsible for securing the safe passing and avoiding the (problematic) drop. The paper contributes to EMCA studies on passings by showing how these actions may display deontic responsibilities, and how the passings are accomplished mainly by the optician using a specific grip, relying on tactile experiences, constantly monitoring the customer behaviour, and embodily anticipating next actions.     

How to Cite
Due, B., & Trærup, J. (2018). Passing Glasses. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 1(2).